I was walking my retriever in a nearby neighborhood where I don’t know anyone. It was a cool morning after some amazing winds had blown through the previous day. It was one of those early Mondays when I was questioning what I am doing with my life at this stage. Heavy, deep thoughts. At the same time, I was trying my best to practice being in the moment with my dear pet. Trying to be true to my Wellspring roots.
As we walked by a home set back from the road, I noticed some bushes burning alongside the garage. Bright flames, dark smoke. In about 10 seconds, my thoughts were: “Why are they using their fire pit so early in the morning?” to “Maybe it’s garbage. There is a town ordinance against that!” to “It must be kids who are skipping school,” to “Wait, there are no people, this is a FIRE!”
I ran down the driveway and confirmed the bushes were indeed in flames. I pounded on the door of the darkened house. No answer. Pulling my dog, I ran to the next-door neighbor’s house, as I’m trying to get my cell phone out. She cracked open the door, holding a little boy. I yelled to her about the fire, and she quickly dialed 911. She knew the house owners were away. Within 6 minutes, there were 4 fire trucks and lots of volunteer firefighters on the scene. (The little boy was thrilled.)
Once I realized all would be well, I had an inward chuckle at the occasional literalness of the Universe. Lawrence Kushner wrote, “The burning bush was not a miracle. It was a test. God wanted to find out if Moses could pay attention to something for more than a few minutes. When Moses did, God spoke. The trick is to pay attention to what is going on around you long enough to behold the miracle without falling asleep.”
I could have easily missed my ‘burning bush.” Walking down a street I rarely take, deep in existential thought about the purpose of my life. Maybe the purpose is to simply pay attention to what is right in front of me. Lost in thought, I could have easily missed the fire set back from the road. Thankfully I was also practicing in-the-moment dog-walking, my favorite spiritual practice.
Good deed done for the day by 7 am, I quietly slipped out of the crowd, an anonymous dog walker, and headed into the morning mist. I felt lighter, less heavy, grateful for my “burning bushes.” What might be right in front of you today?